Fishing & Boating News
A Burning Rose Smells Sweeter Than Ever
Plano pro, Mark Rose, matches diverse presentations to evolving patterns en route to Lake Travis tournament title; earns unprecedented back-to-back FLW Tour wins
Rose’s landmark accomplishment came hard earned, via neck-and-neck battles with FLW superstar, Bryan Thrift, in both competitions.
“I’m blown away right now,” Rose said after accepting the trophy on Sunday at the Lake Travis event. “I’m speechless. I consider Bryan to be one of the best anglers on the planet. This kind of competition at the top of the game is what this sport is all about. I don’t even know what to say right now except that God is good.”
A day later, a more relaxed Rose reflected on a few keys that contributed to his success at Lake Travis – a Colorado River impoundment, and the largest of central Texas’ Highland Lakes.
A known deep ledge specialist, Rose recalls breaking with his fishing forte on day one and, instead, opting to crank the shallow banks up the river where he’d experienced encouraging results while pre-fishing. “I practiced quite a bit off shore, but couldn’t get anything going out there,” Rose explained. “I didn’t want to force it, so I moved into the river and found more consistency.”
After spending most of the first day of competition in the river, Rose was dissatisfied with the results. “I knew I needed to get out of there, so I ran back down late in the day and stopped at one of my offshore spots,” he said. “I caught a four-pounder right away and it became clear where I needed to be for the rest of the tournament.”
Rose returned to the deep water on day two, and probed the broad, main lake points near the dam with a big, ¾-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Football Jig. “I caught a couple on top of those points in about 20 feet of water,” Rose recalls, “but whenever I drifted off, I kept marking big arches on the stair step ledges where the points fell off.” The savvy angler backed off and began targeting the deeper bass holding along those ledges 24-50 feet down. The bigger bass cooperated, and Rose’s day-two bag of 17-3 bumped him into fifth place.
Rose returned to deep suspended bass the morning of day three, betting that the fish would be actively hunting shad. His second cast with a six-inch swimbait attached to a one-ounce Strike King Squadron Jig Head yielded a fat six-pound bass. “It was the only bite I got on it, but I’m glad I threw it,” said Rose, who switched back to the football jig and Strike King 8” KVD Bull Worm to boat a third-day bag of 15-13 and move into second place – less than a pound behind leader, Bran Thrift.
Encouraged by the big fish caught on the swimbait the day before, Rose landed two more deep, suspended bass with it during the morning of day three, before abandoning deep water altogether in search of shallow, bedding and staging bass. He’d been keeping a keen eye on Lake Travis’ plentiful boat docks throughout the tournament, as air and water temperatures were warming rapidly. “The conditions were changing fast and I felt like more fish were definitely moving in to spawn,” reasoned Rose, who caught his fifth fish of the day at around 1:00 while flipping a blue craw-colored Strike King Rage Bug in the shallows. Fishing a carefully selected collection of docks throughout the day, Rose managed to upgrade a few of the fish in his livewell to finish Sunday with 14-9. His four-day tournament total of 59-2 would be enough to best Thrift – who added to his total… and the drama… with a last-minute five-pounder – by a thin 12 ounces.
While Rose fooled the bulk of his bass at Travis with his proven deep-water prowess, the Plano pro credited his ability to make quick switches in presentations – while fishing both deep and shallow – to effective tackle management. “One of the best ways to ensure failure in any tournament situation is to convince yourself that you aren’t going to need something,” said Rose, who was experienced enough to predict the need for highly changeable presentations in response to rapidly evolving conditions and bass in transition. “The most important advice I can give any tournament angler is to put in the time necessary to meticulously organize their tackle… not only so they can refine presentations quickly as conditions change on the water, but also be efficient in how they transfer that tackle from home to the truck and to the boat. Plano’s StowAway organizers and diverse line of tackle storage products give me all the tools I need to fish with maximum efficiency and confidence.”
The 2017 FLW Series Tour continues March 9-12 at the Harris Chain of Lakes in Lake County, Florida, where the history-making red-hot Rose will continue to face fierce competition in his quest for the Forrest Wood Cup.
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